Good news for three MBA hopefuls
(26 January 2010)
Written by Liz Lightfoot for the Independent newspaper Anyone who doubts whether the modern MBA has appeal far beyond the pursuit of commercial profit just has to look at the winners of this year's Durham/Independent MBA scholarship competition. All three are ambitious professionals wanting to bring business ideas and effective management to their chosen fields in the public and private service.
Written by Liz Lightfoot for the Independent newspaper
Anyone who doubts whether the modern MBA has appeal far beyond the pursuit of commercial profit just has to look at the winners of this year's Durham/Independent MBA scholarship competition. All three are ambitious professionals wanting to bring business ideas and effective management to their chosen fields in the public and private service.
Tim Forber,37, is a police superintendent and head of operations for West Yorkshire Police who is about to take the next step in his career when he moves to Greater Manchester as a divisional commander.
Helen Winslow is a hospital doctor working in the field of infectious diseases and tropical medicine in Liverpool and Carlos Andreas Sanchez Garcia is a lawyer in Bogota, Colombia who works on big infrastructure projects.
The annual scholarships worth the full cost of the fees for the MBA courses - between £12,640 and £19,000 - are offered by Durham Business School in partnership with The Independent newspaper in three categories - distance learning, executive (part time) and full time, designed to meet the work schedules of different applicants.
This year it is Sanchez Garcia who will travel from Bogota, the highland capital of Colombia and one of the world's major cities to the picturesque cathedral city of Durham for the one year full time course.
The distance learning option has been awarded to Winslow,29, a registrar who wants to continue her clinical practice while studying. PS Forber chose the part-time option with its short blocks of teaching to fit in with his responsibilities both professional and family - he has three children under the age of four.
All will be following the same programme and Durham offers the flexibility to move between them if someone finds they have more or less time on their hands, perhaps through promotion or redundancy, says Prof Rob Dixon, the dean of the school. All three winners have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their fields and will bring a lot to the learning mix on their courses, he said.
Sanchez Garcia is an associate lawyer for a firm specialising in large construction projects which is considered one of the top in the field. He also lectures part time at the Law School at the Universidad de Los Andes.
Closer to home, Police Superintendent Forber visited all the best business schools in the north-east of England to choose his course. "In the end I applied only to Durham. Partly it was its reputation and partly gut instinct that it would give me what I need to develop my career and go further, he says. "The scholarship means I won't have to take out a big bank loan to fund it."
He joined the police force at the age of 24 after taking a law degree and the solicitors' professional course. "My father was a policeman and that is what I wanted to do when I left school but my parents persuaded me to go to university,' he said.
It took him just twelve years to move up the ranks from a beat bobby in Richmond upon Thames , Surrey to a Superintendent in North Yorkshire in charge of operations. He leaves for Greater Manchester this month with his record intact for solving all 20 murders he investigated.
After working as a beat officer, a detective in very different parts of the country and then in a management role, he has wide range of professional skills. "The reason I want to do the MBA is to make sure I have the commercial and business skills to match in order to make it to chief officer rank which is a very competitive field," he says. "The course at Durham Business School will address the aspects of management that stretch me day to day in my current job - human resources, financial strategy, change management and, of course, marketing which is a big area for the police as we try to get across all the good work that we do," he said.
As a doctor committed to the health service Helen Winslow says she believes that improving the management skills of doctors would result in better patient care and outcomes. "Management in the NHS is a big deal and we hear it is not being done very well. From the inside it is a similar picture. We have managers who have little idea what it is to work clinically and clinicians who are very good at their work but not very good at managing budgets," she said.
"If you can put the two sets of skills together it could make a real difference."